Avalonia‌ COVID-19‌ Update‌: Stewardship‌ Activities – 6/25/2020‌ ‌

Avalonia has been working closely with staff, board members, and several outside organizations to understand State of Connecticut Requirements and best protocol for our organization to address risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a task taken to protect our staff and volunteers, which is absolutely our priority. We understand the isolation faced by many is difficult, but we cannot let social and individual interest drive decision and cloud our judgement. 

At this time, our office will remain closed to the public, while we are allowing limited STAFF access to the office. We are NOT allowing more than one staff member in the office at a time, with documentation of entry/exit and decontamination taking place. There will be NO GATHERING in the closed office conditions or inside at this time. The small space and limited circulation is not conducive to limiting potential transmission, therefore, any groups planning to meet should do so outside in a socially distanced manner with masks. 

We understand the needs for trail and preserve maintenance continue and have increased in many areas due to an increase in outdoor activities and preserve traffic occurring due to COVID-19. Neil Duncan will continue to coordinate access to the tool trailer. Any tool or equipment request should be directed to Neil and he will allow access to the trailer and return of equipment assuring appropriate decontamination approaches. 

The State of Connecticut and CDC has begun to allow outdoor based activities. Avalonia has made the decision to address Stewardship needs within our preserves. Town Committees can begin limited group activities as required. We require that groups work with socially- distanced protocol an maintain a size of up to 5 individuals. These groups will be made up of experienced volunteers who coordinate efforts prior to the day of the activity, we will not be resuming open public stewardship days at this time.   

We have turned to the Professional Trail Builders Association guidelines and will review CFPA guidance as it develops. Based upon these guidelines, stewardship groups should follow the following approaches:

  • Screen crew members at the beginning of each workday. This screening does not need to be documented unless the crew member answers yes to questions 1 through 6 or no to question 7.
    1. Do you have a temperature above 100.4 degrees F.
    2. Do you have any COVID-19 positive members in your household? 
    3. Do you have a cough?
    4. Do you have shortness of breath?
    5. Do you have fatigue or muscle aches?
    6. Do you have a new loss of taste or smell?
    7. Do you agree to report the onset of any of these symptoms during your shift?
  • Keep anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms off the work site. Any member experiencing symptoms should be encouraged to stay home in isolation or quarantine (as per CDC recommendations), get tested for the virus (if available), and if positive, follow recommendations.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and safety glasses whenever feasible and as required.
  • Do not share equipment, including hand tools, chain saws, mechanized equipment, or work site items such as electronic equipment, PPE, coolers, water containers, etc. Any tool that is shared must be disinfected prior to use.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping 6’ OR MORE away from others. Under a heavy exertion exhale, the potential effective spread of the virus can be greater than 6 feet.
  • Each person should buy, store, and prepare their own meals, drinks, and snacks. Encourage self-sufficiency and discourage borrowing personal items.
  • Request individuals use their own tools or assign tools and equipment to a specific volunteer for the day. This includes hand tools, machines, tool-specific PPE, electronics (iPads, GPS, radios) etc.
  • At the end of each day, each volunteer should be responsible for properly cleaning and returning their tool(s) and equipment to the storage area. 

Thank you for your consideration, these items were discussed at the 6/24/20 BOD meeting.

Best regards,

Kim Bradley
Avalonia President Board of Directors